Interview: Simon Dunmore & Mark Vessey on displaying forty years of influences in a single stack of records

Simon Dunmore and Mark Vessey focus on their collaboration on Simon, the newest print in Vessey’s ongoing Collections collection.

How do you distil 40 years of music obsession right into a single stack of records? That’s the query that confronted former Defected Records CEO and Glitterbox head-honcho Simon Dunmore upon embarking on a journey with photographer Mark Vessey. 

The newest print in Vessey’s ongoing images collection, Collections, captures the spirit of Dunmore’s extraordinary profession from the dancefloor to the DJ sales space, from file shops to assembly rooms and much past. Spanning genres corresponding to soul, funk, disco, home and rather more, the gathering is a snapshot of the music that Dunmore has carried by way of the years.

VF’s Kelly Doherty sat down with Dunmore and Vessey to debate the origins of the challenge and the enduring visible enchantment of vinyl.

Where did the preliminary challenge concept come from?

Mark: It’s one thing that I at all times wished to do and it was by way of a mutual buddy.

Simon: It was from {a magazine} referred to as Faith, which Defected was concerned with after I was working there. I used to be very conscious of Mark’s work as a result of I’d come all the way down to Brighton and seen it hanging within the Enter Gallery. Then, Simon Dawson, that works with Defected and helps edit the entire Faith Magazine, reached out to me and mentioned ‘Mark Vessey desires to collaborate with you’.

I used to be like ‘actually? I completely love that’. It was a kind of serendipitous moments the place we had been conscious of one another however didn’t know we had been each conscious of one another. Here we’re, about 18 months later, and the work is completed.

Simon Dunmore, Mark Vessey | Photo credit score: Toni Tambourine Tambo PR

Talk to me concerning the choice course of for the records you’ve included.

Simon: I spent two weekends going by way of my assortment. I wished there to be range when it comes to the artists, producers and labels. I selected records I’d performed as a DJ, records I’ve danced to as a punter and as a lover, and records that I’ve signed in my profession as a music govt, whether or not that be working for the foremost labels or beginning Glitterbox.

It displays my musical journey from a really early age proper by way of to now. I’ve clearly taken a slight step again and I’m not working the label anymore, however I’m nonetheless going to share my musical tastes wherever. I’m simply not going to DJ a lot lately.

There’s a mixture of legendary established albums and new releases like Róisín Murphy’s Incapable. How did you choose newer releases to be included?

Simon: My factor is, as a DJ, it’s best to have the ability to pull from the previous and play records that sit comfortably amongst modern records and manufacturing. At a celebration like Glitterbox, I can play a Salsoul file and I may dovetail actually simply into Róisín Murphy.

She’s a modern-day iconic artist who will match nicely now and nonetheless will match comfortably into traditional file collections 15 or 20 years from now.

How did it really feel trying by way of all your records? What feelings did it convey to the fore?

Musical journeys are private to individuals. People break as much as music, they fall in like to music, and so they meet individuals on the dance flooring. There had been these sorts of recollections and recollections of being a pumped-up DJ on nice nights, rocking the gang, and that also makes me smile.

Then there are records you hear for the very first time that no one has heard when an artist or a supervisor has despatched a demo to you and also you’re the primary individual to listen to that file, that then is massively standard and rock dance flooring or the radio.

Were there any visible issues with the choices?

Simon: I needed to take into account what Mark was attempting to realize, so each file has to have a backbone in order that you possibly can have a look at and see clearly.

Some albums are clearly extra seminal than others. Something like “The Conversation” by Lil Louis is a really key second in time for the acid home motion–a Chicago artist doing an album of home music–they had been actually early days throughout the scene. That album nonetheless stands. Mark guided me by way of that course of closely.

Mark: We restricted it to 2 albums by the identical artists. Then determined which we had been going to truly put into the paintings itself.

Simon: I may have picked any of 4 or 5 Loleatta Holloway albums. We determined upon Love Sensation as a result of I may inform a narrative about Glitterbox and it was a disco second. Even although I liked her as a soul artist, she was an artist who transcended from being a very gritty soul act to being an iconic disco artist that’s nonetheless sampled immediately.

Mark, what continues to attract you to capturing collections?

Mark: I really like having the ability to plug right into a cultural second, one thing the place I’m capable of go alone journey and study by way of one other’s expertise.

With Simon, he has 40 years and an expanse of labor inside membership tradition and with the file label. It was an actual journey for me to study by way of Simon. That’s what I do. I actually love that it’s nearly like a portrait I’m taking. It condenses all the things all the way down to turn into way over what it’s–only a stack of magazines or vinyl–it’s extra a illustration of Simon’s profession, and that’s what I actually love.

Simon: Everyone I share the artwork with is intrigued. They look intensely and might inform their very own tales. My assortment might be the same journey to many individuals my age and might relate to records particularly. I believe individuals’s interpretations after they have a look at it might be like mine, but in addition utterly totally different. You can put your personal spin on it.

Mark: It’s an expertise as nicely. Simon’s story displays the those that he has touched or labored with which were a part of that journey with him in his profession. I really like that thread and the precise tangible gadgets of the vinyl and the way it speaks to us.

Simon Dunmore | Photo credit score: Toni Tambourine Tambo PR

Records are one thing that we show publicly however can inform such personal, private tales. Mark, do you’re feeling you have got a greater understanding of Simon after this challenge?

Mark: Definitely. I already wished to work with Simon and when he got here to my home and had a cup of espresso, we talked about his personal story, the records that he was selecting and the explanations these records had been necessary. I had a buzz after that assembly and it actually cemented the work that went into the {photograph}, and the paintings itself.

Why do you assume individuals have an everlasting fascination with the visible ingredient of vinyl?

Simon: I believe making music has been made a lot simpler by expertise and folks making records on their laptops. If you’re going to spend money on going to a urgent plant, slicing a file, attempting to get right into a file retailer, going by way of that entire means of a distributor taking it, a purchaser in a file retailer shopping for 10 or 50 copies to hold on their wall and attempting to promote it, it’s a much more critical course of.

There’s additionally a nostalgic and romantic attachment to vinyl. It’s nearly prefer it’s from one thing again within the day. People are on the lookout for magic. I cherish the records I’ve purchased, that I went to a file retailer and paid my hard-earned for and racked on my cabinets. That course of takes loads of time and dedication.

Mark: There’s the concept the message is within the medium and you’ll’t as simply bounce with a file. It slows you down and will get us off our cell phones. It brings us into ourselves within the right here and now.

Simon: You can’t decide up a file and have a look at the sleeve notes or on the paintings, all of these issues. I imply, with a few of my most cherished records, I really like the music that’s contained with them, however I additionally love the paintings, and I really like the musicians which are concerned in it.

Simon Dunmore | Photo credit score: Toni Tambourine Tambo PR

What do you hope individuals take away from the exhibit?

Simon: That’s a troublesome query. I hope they will recognise the truth that music has been such a large a part of my very own private life. I at all times say that from the times of constructing a cassette compilation and giving it to my mates, or working behind a file retailer, or being behind a DJ sales space, and even proudly owning a file label–I’m sharing my private style in music. I assume I’m very lucky that individuals have aligned with that over time.

I additionally hope that individuals will have a look at the paintings and go ‘I really like that file. I really like that artist. That label’s necessary to me. I perceive why he’s included that as a result of I’ve bought my very own Salsoul rack or Strictly Rhythm rack’. There are like-minded individuals my age or barely youthful which were by way of related journeys and I hope they will join with the artwork in that respect.

Mark: I completely agree with all the things Simon mentioned. I hope that by telling Simon’s story, individuals will see themselves.

Simon will launch at Brighton’s Enter Gallery on May 25.

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